Stationed at the Cross
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record that a Roman “centurion” stood near the cross and witnessed the death of Jesus. Mark is the only one to use here the military expression kentyrion (15:39,44,45), which is in fact transliterated from the Latin centurio (as earlier in Polybius 6.24.5). Indeed, this Latin word does not appear in the New Testament except in Mark, whose Gospel, according to the earliest testimonies, was written at Rome and for the Romans. To describe this same military officer, Matthew uses the corresponding Greek word hekatontarchos, literally a “commander of a hundred” (27:54), and Luke the variant hekatontarches (23:47).
This centurion is quoted . . .
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of Christ in the Psalms, Christ in His Saints, and The Trial of Job (all from Conciliar Press). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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